Candid Reflections

August 28, 2008

it’ll be here before you know it!

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — candid reflections @ 10:21 pm

Christmas card templates are here, and I’m so excited!  I have a wonderful collection of 5×7 and 5×5 cards, which can be ordered as folded cards or as one sided cards.  There’s also a beautiful trifold card for you to check out!

Contact me at to schedule an appointment.  Photo sessions for Christmas cards will be running September 5th through November 16th, so be sure to reserve your spot soon!

here’s a little peak for ya…

August 26, 2008

On The Nightstand

Filed under: On the Nightstand — candid reflections @ 6:29 am

Revisiting an old friend,

and discovering a new!  

With another round of sprouting little toddlerhood, I’ve been feeling the need for a little boost and refreshening of the game plan…  I’m definitely feeling out-numbered these days!  The returning and organized schedule of autumn days shall be a welcome companion.

August 23, 2008

Lunge Lessons

Filed under: Everything Else — Tags: , — candid reflections @ 12:12 pm

Our oldest son, The Historian, has mentioned that he would like to learn some team roping and perhaps compete in  a rodeo someday.  So his dad has been working with Stanley, our currently unrideable quarter-horse gelding, to make him into a steady steed for such events.  We’ve had Stan for a year and a half now… guess it’s finally time to show him who’s boss.  It’s called obedience 101… tell him to lunge in one direction, stop, and then change directions until he does it without blinking an eye.  

I wandered down to the barn this morning to catch the action.

August 21, 2008

Nourishing Notions

Filed under: Everything Else, Life in the Sticks — Tags: , — candid reflections @ 8:25 pm

“Many things grow in the garden

that were never sown there.”

~Thomas Fuller

Today, Little Miss M and I spent some time in the garden together.  We shared in some lovely conversation.  We reminisced for awhile, and then she enlightened me with some of her dreams for the future.  She dreamed of getting married someday, and she heartily hopes that this fella, whomever he may turn out to be, enjoys planting a garden.  It’s at the top of her dreamy Mr. Right’s Qualities list… for now anyway!

I love the time I’ve spent in the garden this summer.  Each visit consumed well over an hour and kept my hands quite busy, however my mind was completely undistracted and uninterrupted – ready to engage with whichever child who happened to wander in behind me.  Special times.  Our garden has nourished our bodies, and the times spent in it have been health to my soul.

After we carried our veggies up to the house, she worked with me in the kitchen to prepare them for dinner.  Little sister enjoyed watching, with frequent nibbling.  Later, we sat down to freshly steamed beats, green beans, and green salad (all from our garden, except for the tomatoes – I haven’t attempted those yet.)

August 19, 2008


Filed under: Photography — candid reflections @ 8:59 am

Sue asked me to “paint” some portraits, and I couldn’t help but to oblige her. 

Dare I call myself an artist???  I’m such a cheater.

August 18, 2008

Morning Daubing

Filed under: Photography — candid reflections @ 6:28 am

I got out the easel this morning and painted a few pictures for my friend Nancy, as she suggested I try my hand at lighthouses.  Painting with pixels is so much fun! 

Here they are girl, hope you like them. 

August 16, 2008

The Apple-of-My-Eye Pie

Filed under: In the Kitchen — Tags: , — candid reflections @ 10:56 am

If you like apple pie, then you’ll love this Irish Cream Apple Pie!  









Begin by making the very yummiest, flakiest pie crust on the planet…

here’s what you need:










 Pie Crust

4 cups flour
2 tsp. salt
1 ¾ cups unsalted butter, chilled
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp. white distilled vinegar
½ cup cold water
3 Tbsp. sugar
Blend flour, salt, and butter with a pastry blender, until you have oatmeal sized chunks.  Mix egg, vinegar, water, and sugar together.   Then, gradually add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring with fork until just blended.  Divide mixture in half and gently form into two loose balls.  The key to a flaky pie crust is not handling it too much.  Here’s a little secret to help ensure that this doesn’t happen-  When you’ve divided your dough in half, place each ball between two sheets of plastic wrap.  It will be a bit crumbly, but once you have it between the plastic wrap begin rolling it out and you’ll find it holds together quite nicely.  You might have to add a sprinkle of flour, just as you would if you were rollin it out without the plastic wrap to keep it from being too sticky.










Once you’ve rolled it out to a bigger size than your pie plate, peel back the top layer of plastic.  (If it seems a bit soft, stick it in the fridge to firm up for a few minutes before you peel off the first plastic layer.)













Then, all you have to do is lift it by the bottom piece of plastic and turn it into your pie plate. 











Just look at how easy that is!

Now, just trim the edge, fold it under, and crimp with your fingers.





And when that’s done, you’ll be ready to start the filling.  Take a look at these ingredients:










The original recipe called for a quarter of a cup of water, but I decided to give it a little twist and replace the water with a little Bailey’s Irish cream and whipping cream…oh yah, baby!  Go ahead and get started… you know your taste buds are bursting for it.

Michelle’s Irish Cream Apple Pie Filling

½ cup butter
3 Tbsp. flour
¼ cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
¼ cup whipping cream
½ cup white sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
6-8 apples (a combo of Granny Smith and McIntosh)

Preheat oven to 425º.  Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Stir in flour to form a paste.  Add Irish cream, whipping cream, sugars, and cinnamon.  Bring to boil.  Reduce temp. and let simmer for five minutes, will resemble caramel.
Brush your pie crust with egg white and bake in oven for five minutes (this prevents a soggy crust.)  Peel and slice apples quite thin. Stir apples into carmel mixture, then pour into piecrust. 

Now pull out your mad weaving skills and make yourself a pretty lattice crust for the top.










Place pie plate into a cool cast iron skillet (this also helps to ensure that the bottom of your pie crust will cook thoroughly, as well as catching those little spill overs.) 
Bake for 15 minutes at 425º, then reduce temperature to 350º and continue baking for 35-45 minutes, or until apples are soft.

August 15, 2008

Painting In Pixels, for now… And Reminiscing

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — candid reflections @ 7:48 am

I’ve had a desire to learn to paint in watercolor for a very long time. 

Growing up, I would spend a week or so, each summer, visiting with my grandparents.  One of my favorite things to do was to sit and watch my grandpa paint with oils, and with watercolor.  I would sit for hours and watch him transform a plain white background into beautiful scenes and seacapes, and yet they felt like mere minutes.  My grandma would be in the kitchen baking a pie or creating some sort of amazingly delicious meal, and I’d always feel horrible for just sitting on my rump… but it was so hard to pull myself away.  I would sit and watch until I felt on the verge of culpability, I didn’t want to be accused of being lazy.  

I know my grandpa enjoyed having me nearby, and I’m sure my grandma didn’t mind my sitting and watching him, yet I’d feel this inner sense of guilt for sitting so long and I didn’t want to ignore my grandmother.  When I’d finally pull myself away from grandpa’s painting to find grandma in the kitchen, I was never disappointed.  In the same way that I was in awe by my grandpa’s ability to take blobs of paint from his pallate and turn them into marvelous works on his canvas… I was equally amazed to watch my grandma reach into her cupboards and ice box, as she’d call it, and pull out simple ingredients only to turn them into gourmet creations.  Everything she made tasted savory… from scratch, often times without a recipe… amazingly delicious! 

Once in the kitchen with grandma, you couldn’t pull my wide-eyed self away… I was observing a master at her craft.  She loved to construct huge, delicious meals and then spread them across her long dining-room table with her beautiful hands.  I can remember being disgruntled to see her pull certain vegetables from the refrigerator, then amused to see how fun and attractive she made their preparation seem, and finally amazed to find how delightful she made them taste.

I love my memories and am grateful for those days with my grandparents.  I love the appreciation for life that I found in them.  Someday, I’m gonna paint with watercolor… for now I’ll adjust my photos and pretend that I can.

Someday I’d love to be able to prepare a gourmet meal from the things I have on hand, and know exactly what spices to use when, and whip out pies, and cakes, and tarts…but for now I’ll stick to the recipe books, I’ll practice and pracitce and practice.  In fact, check back tomorrow for a practice piece of pie, featuring my grandmother’s yummy pie crust!  I’ll read directions, measure precisely, and hope for the best…

August 14, 2008

Berry Fun

Filed under: Making House — Tags: , — candid reflections @ 8:30 am

We like us some raspberry jam, so yesterday we hopped into the rig and headed off to the berry farm.  Middle son grabbed the camera to try his hand at a little photojournalism (storytellin’ with your camera.)

















And… because every story deserves a conclusion, here’s a picture of the little photojournalist himself, eating the raspberry preserves that he worked so hard at documenting.

August 13, 2008

Food For Thought

Filed under: Everything Else — candid reflections @ 6:34 am

Children Learn What They Live
~Dorothy Law Nolte

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

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